Sanskrit 2: Electric Boogaloo!

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gjd800
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#61
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#61
(Original post by artful_lounger)
Haha, I know that feeling (albeit not in Sanskrit)...when I was doing Greek at the OU most of the adapted texts were fairly reasonable, and then we had one which was from the acts of the apostles and it just had these like 5 line long run on sentences with just one verb hidden in them which was excruciating

I actually asked a friend of mine who is a medievalist and works a lot on similar kinds of like, old English homilies and so on about that and he was like "yeah all the biblical stuff is like that lmao good luck"
haha yes, this is all very familiar!

I'm not even that interested in what this guy has to say, but I have to piss about with it because a reviewer demands that I must. Great(!)
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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#62
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
...Nala & Damayanti (which had I think at least 10 different words for "king" that I had to constantly look up because I didn't recognise the latest one!)...
:eek2: Yikes. Hats off to you (and gjd800 ): I have no patience for this kinda thing :getmecoat:
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#63
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
:eek2: Yikes. Hats off to you (and gjd800 ): I have no patience for this kinda thing :getmecoat:
Haha yeah it can be a bit of a drag at times! It's great when you aren't having to look up every other word though
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#64
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#64

Week 7 and 8 Update

I decided to roll together this week and last's update because I was late doing last week's, and this week there is strike action ongoing for the rest of the week so my Wednesday class is cancelled anyway (although our Sanskrit lecturer has sent us some recorded lectures and podcasts as "suggested listening/watching" for our original timeslot ).


Sanskrit

So we officially started the Gita last Thursday, and continued with it today. I've translated up to the end of the current chapter now so I think I'm in a reasonably good spot on that front but will make a start on the next chapter next week. It's been going reasonably well I think, definitely a lot more fluid than my Nala & Damayanti work. However, stupidly I didn't think to actually look at the Maurer edition of the Gita we were sent to work on and was just working off of a critical edition online which was already in transliteration, because transliterating the devanagari takes me as long as doing everything else usually...although arguably I really should get in the practice of looking at the devanagari so I can eventually just read it natively

So what I was translating was slightly different in places, although after discussing one particular point the outcome seems to be that the critical edition is probably better than Maurer's for resolving certain issues in the text (fewer inexplicable forms). So I think I may need/want to have a look at the Maurer edition and compare the two so I at least understand the differences and can account for them. Also I need to think more about why I'm translating x or y as such; a lot of the time I'll get asked why I picked such and such case over an alternative and my answer is usually "idk I guess it seemed to fit more when translating in English?" which when I'm right is like, OK, but I need to be able to justify my decision making a bit more by having some reason to NOT pick the other option(s).

We also talked about the portfolio which is our main non-test/exam assessment for this term in Sanskrit. Basically it's just scanning and submitting (some of) the work (i.e. notes/rough work) we've done translating this term with a cover sheet and our current working translation. So I just need to type up my translation from the Gita and then take pictures of some of the pages of my notes. Initially our lecturer suggested we just send everything (which I have a lot of pages!) but then after she double checked the module entry it notes there is a 2000 word limit so she said instead to send about 2000 words worth of stuff. I counted the words on one of my pages of notes and it's about 300 on that so I imagine I'll probably just get pics of 5 or 6 pages of my notes and add the translation and a title page for it (apparently there has to be SOME typed text to submit on turnitin otherwise it doesn't accept it).


Prakrit

So it seems there is at least one other student taking Prakrit as well now, which is good news for Prakrit at SOAS that said it sounds like they're ahead of me and so the lecturer is going to start in class lectures with them towards the end of term looking at the readings. It's not that I'm behind I think, I'm just working on the material at the "expected" pace and so will be due to start the readings next term...so I might have to do some catch up work over the break, since I'm not really in a position to "accelerate" my pace with Prakrit currently too much, as I'm only just fitting in everything while staying sane as it is! Apparently there is a test in the last week of term which I need to check in with the lecturer for...I'm hoping it will be online because I don't really want to have to go to London to take a test (I mean, I don't really want to go to London full stop but of all reasons to have to go that would be pretty grim!).


Other Stuff
There was an annoying issue at work where I couldn't access a bunch of documents today and Friday...IT finally managed to help me with it, still have no idea what was wrong with them. I think I'm going to see if I can take next week or the following week (but ideally next week) as leave so I have some extra time to put together the portfolio for Sanskrit, and maybe see if I can push ahead a bit with Prakrit...

I sent over all my stuff for UCAS to my lecturer so she can write me a reference (she asked me to send everything I'm applying with) today, so that's in progress now. I probably should've gotten my PS written earlier so she had more time She didn't indicate it was an issue though so hopefully all will be fine on that front. I still need to contact a few unis to find out if their part-time variants of the course are both part-time in study intensity AND in funding model, or just the former (since as I discovered the two don't necessarily coincide, and I need the course to be PT funding model to be able to get funded!). Something else to look at when/if I get a week off work before the holidays (as otherwise anything I send won't get picked up till January anyway)/

Also in FFXI I got my first piece of artifact armour, collecting which is like half the reason I'm playing it currently I then tried to get the second piece and promptly got my ass handed to me so I think I need to level up a bit more before re-attempting that quest fight :laugh:
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artful_lounger
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#65
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#65

Tag List

I forgot to attach the tag list again :facepalm:

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artful_lounger
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#66
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#66


Week 9 (?!) Update!


Almost the end of term! :woo:

I had this week off work so I could make sure I had everything in place for my Sanskrit assignment for submission on Monday - it isn't a "new" assignment but a "portfolio" of the work we've done this term on one of the texts we've been translating, so I typed up my final translation and then as required by the assignment, attached my (handwritten) notes as well. Which were very messy!

I realised today though we also have an end of term test for Sanskrit which is an open book 48 hour test, opening Wednesday next week, and then I also have a similar test for Prakrit (albeit only 24 hours) opening on Thursday! I had sort of forgotten about those things so I might see if I can use my final hours of annual leave to take off Wednesday afternoon and Thursday next week, or maybe just Thurs and Fri...

We're starting the Prakrit translation proper this week in Prakrit, although I've not even looked at it yet

Outside of academic stuff I also finally got my full set of artifact armour in FFXI It was a really hard quest to get them as well, took me like 10+ tries and a lot of luck I actually died immediately after the cutscene where I got the armour from a poison effect from the fight after I finally beat it as well :laugh:

Somehow I've also managed to get myself into Diamond in Teamfight Tactics...no idea how that happened I tried climbing a bit to see if I could move up or if I'd be stuck sat at the bottom of the division but it looks like that latter is likely so probably won't play that as much until the mid-set update in February.



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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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#67
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#67
Well done on getting the portfolio in! Good luck with the tests :work:
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Mesopotamian.
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#68
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I’m very late to the party, but can I be tagged please?
Saw the word “ancient” somewhere in the OP and that decided it for me
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artful_lounger
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#69
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Well done on getting the portfolio in! Good luck with the tests :work:
Thank you! The tests don't get released till next week so I have a stay of execution :O I just need to work on Prakrit stuff for the rest of this week now

(Original post by Mesopotamian.)
I’m very late to the party, but can I be tagged please?
Saw the word “ancient” somewhere in the OP and that decided it for me
Will do
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artful_lounger
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#70
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#70


Small Update! A Taste of the Bhagavad Gita


I figured I'd do a little update since I have been CONSUMED today considering one specific line for translation...namely:



nāsato vidyate bhāvo nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ


So, some background - the above is from the Bhagavad Gita, in Krishna's reply to Arjuna's lament (after he laughs at him to his face...or "almost" laughs at him ). So far Krishna has been somewhat philosophical and abstract in his reply, and the above seems to very much continue that!

To start with, we can de-sandhi-se and separate the words to see it "in full":



na asataḥ vidyate bhāvo na abhāvo vidyate sataḥ


na is a particle of negation (so like no, not, etc), and the prefix a- is similarly one of negation like in English (e.g. asexual).

(a)sataḥ is a (present active) participle (in possessive/genitive case i.e. "of (that which is) existing"), vidyate are both the same verb repeated twice (with different subjects) and (a)bhāvo are nouns in the subject case (nominative).

Firstly you can see there is a somewhat pleasing (anti-)symmetry to the line, as working from the outside in you have the sataḥ participles bracketing the line, then the two verbs vidyate, then the bhāvo nouns on the interior

The actual meaning of the words is where it gets more interesting(/confusing) - all of them can mean in varying ways, "existence". So (that which is) existing, (it) exists, and existence, for the participles, verbs, and nouns respectively, and then we have the negations.

Once you add in the negations it gets a bit confusing (for me anyway! although I did briefly look at the provided commentaries to see if any of the classical Sanskrit commentators had anything to say about it, and they ALL did), and I basically reduced it to three possibilities:

1) the na's are tied to the word they are "stuck onto" in the original form of the sentence (note that this doesn't actually mean anything intrinsically - a standard feature of Sanskrit if any word ends in a vowel it will be "combined" with the next word, without affecting the meaning of either and they are still to be taken separately unless they have some other grammatical relation to each other). This leads to two possible cases:

a) They form a double negative, so "of not (that which is) non-existing" would mean "of (that which) is existing", and correspondingly "not non-existence" would mean "existence". This is how double negatives work conventionally in English.

b) They work in concert to intensify the negation, forming what is apparently called a "negative concordance", which occurs in various languages (apparently actually more common than the first case in world languages statistically), so "(that which is) certainly/definitely/absolutely non-existing" and "absolute/certain/definite non-existence" respectively, perhaps.

The problem with this solution is for a) the whole thing ends up reducing (unless my logic has failed me, which is very possible at this point!) to "the existence of that which is existing, exists / the existence of that which is existing, exists" which is both tautological and redundantly repeated. Also the second line of the verse clearly refers to "both" suggesting they are trying to be contrasted as separate concepts so it would be odd for them to be essentially identical for this to happen?

The problem with b) is probably more for me, I don't really understand what it is trying to get at - as it would mean something along the lines of "the certain non-existence of (that which is) existing, exists / the existence of (that which is) certainly non-existing, exists". I don't understand why the intensifying of the negations - what does it achieve that just not using them would? Is it simply to fill the metre? That seems unlikely since the overall structure of this line seems quite deliberate otherwise.

In both situations there is also the problem that there is no connection between the two clauses so an "and" or similar needs to be inserted in English which makes me wary.

2) We take the na's to modify their entire clause (i.e. it negates the verb); this avoids the double negative leading to variant readings as a plus. Then we have "the non-existence of (that which is) existing does not exist / the existence of (that which is) non-existing does not exist". There is then perhaps some link between the two clauses as they're perhaps being equated by the negated verb(s). Possible problem - why put the na's in front of the noun/participle in each sentence, clearly nearer different forms in the line, when they could stand in front of the verbs in both cases (retaining a sense of the symmetry as well). The arbitrariness feels inconsistent with the deliberate construction of the line.

3) We take the na's to be a larger structure themselves, as na...na...; a similar structure I believe exists in Greek with the negative particle meaning "neither...nor" to my memory. This is appealing because it explicitly links the two padas (half-verses) in English. That would then give "Neither the non-existence of (that which is) existing exists, nor the existence of (that which is) non-existing exists." So at last, a full sentence in English...but again the actual meaning isn't as clear, although it may simply be that it is a philosophical issue of meaning rather than a translation issue.

Which comes to the main problem of, but what do any of these actually mean? And how do we choose between them as a result? This is where I am stuck

Perhaps I am overthinking it all! Or maybe I'm underthinking it

In any case, I have a lot of questions for class tomorrow! Unfortunately as a result of focusing so much on this verse I got a bit "stuck" and didn't do as many as I wanted (was aiming for at least one more but...might just leave it at this for now).
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artful_lounger
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#71
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Tag list for the previous post

I forgot again

See above, if you want to understand some of what I do when working on translations!

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Mesopotamian.
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#72
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Great post. I felt my neurones wake up whilst reading that
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artful_lounger
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#73
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(Original post by Mesopotamian.)
Great post. I felt my neurones wake up whilst reading that
Haha when I read it at first I was like "that's a nice little aesthetically pleasing line" then I started translating properly and was like "WHYYYYYYY"

...and I've been thinking about it ever since (this morning)!

Unfortunately the second line of the verse isn't too illuminating other than probably eliminating the English style double negative as an option
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Mesopotamian.
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#74
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Haha when I read it at first I was like "that's a nice little aesthetically pleasing line" then I started translating properly and was like "WHYYYYYYY"

...and I've been thinking about it ever since (this morning)!

Unfortunately the second line of the verse isn't too illuminating other than probably eliminating the English style double negative as an option
Haha it’s always the innocent-looking which turns out to be the bane of your life :laugh:


You’re doing a great job at convincing me to stick to my original plan to return to university and do a humanities degree (history/ ancient languages related) later in life!
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artful_lounger
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#75
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(Original post by Mesopotamian.)
Haha it’s always the innocent-looking which turns out to be the bane of your life :laugh:


You’re doing a great job at convincing me to stick to my original plan to return to university and do a humanities degree (history/ ancient languages related) later in life!


I'm definitely in favour of that idea!

Plus there are so many possibilities of languages to learn... :moon:
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gjd800
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It'd be more usual to see neither... nor represented by neti... neti (na iti), but it's not unheard of for na to function in this way... similarly you might see non-existence in things like the Gītā better represented by mithyā.

but I do have a suggestion.

satah can mean eternality, thus asatah is transience. The root sat is synonymous with truth, reality, absolute existence, the Brahman.

This is the trick with interpretation as opposed to straight translation, especially in Sanskrit where the definition of a word, compound, phrase can sometimes only be determined by the context or even subtext.

You now have a discussion on the eternal and the fleeting. That changes things to something like 'there is no permanence in the transient, there is no cessation in the eternal'. This is very apt for the Gītā

That's how I'd start to approach and contextualise it, anyway
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by gjd800)
It'd be more usual to see neither... nor represented by neti... neti (na iti), but it's not unheard of for na to function in this way... similarly you might see non-existence in things like the Gītā better represented by mithyā.

but I do have a suggestion.

satah can mean eternality, thus asatah is transience. The root sat is synonymous with truth, reality, absolute existence, the Brahman.

This is the trick with interpretation as opposed to straight translation, especially in Sanskrit where the definition of a word, compound, phrase can sometimes only be determined by the context or even subtext.

You now have a discussion on the eternal and the fleeting. That changes things to something like 'there is no permanence in the transient, there is no cessation in the eternal'. This is very apt for the Gītā

That's how I'd start to approach and contextualise it, anyway
PRSOM! This is really helpful! Your rendering definitely fits into the section better since I think I translated something about transient/ephemeral comings and goings a couple verses prior to this one as well...

It's definitely tricky! I think it was especially hard for me to decide on how to gloss the words in this section because it's more abstract and so the context isn't super clear to me because I don't think I really understand what Krishna is talking about honestly

I guess this is the point of translation where the more you read the more it helps translating as you have more general context from other texts as well
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#78
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
PRSOM! This is really helpful! Your rendering definitely fits into the section better since I think I translated something about transient/ephemeral comings and goings a couple verses prior to this one as well...

It's definitely tricky! I think it was especially hard for me to decide on how to gloss the words in this section because it's more abstract and so the context isn't super clear to me because I don't think I really understand what Krishna is talking about honestly

I guess this is the point of translation where the more you read the more it helps translating as you have more general context from other texts as well
Honestly, it's really difficult without a little grounding, and that's why so many older translations of this stuff are so bad!

My PhD supervisor had me do nothing but Sanskrit and associated background reading for about 2 years - at the time I wasn't very impressed, but looking back I see the value. the familiarity and cross-contextualisation can take a little while to build!

I know I've read this before but can't quite place it. I think the next sloka will be saying something about how this truth has been determined by the sages, who know it to be true (or words to that effect). They love doing this in the Buddhist stuff too. A really terse thing alluding to an underpinning philosophical point (in this case that there is ultimately no reality but the Brahman, i.e. there is no permanence in the fleeting, the Real has no cessation), followed by 'clever people just KNOW this, mannnnn' :lol:
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gjd800
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In terms of meaning, it's saying that the Godhead/Brahman/Absolute reality is permanent - our souls macrocosmic versions of this, the atman-Brahman, where atman is our permanent essence. The outside world is asat, meaning in these contexts not 'non-existent', but rather 'not permanent' or 'not eternal' or 'not Real'.

The idea is usually that we should look inward to our permanent essence, identical with the Godhead/Brahman/Absolute for liberation, and not seek it in fleeting things outside of us. I think this will be riffing around that foundational principle
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(Original post by gjd800)
Honestly, it's really difficult without a little grounding, and that's why so many older translations of this stuff are so bad!

My PhD supervisor had me do nothing but Sanskrit and associated background reading for about 2 years - at the time I wasn't very impressed, but looking back I see the value. the familiarity and cross-contextualisation can take a little while to build!

I know I've read this before but can't quite place it. I think the next sloka will be saying something about how this truth has been determined by the sages, who know it to be true (or words to that effect). They love doing this in the Buddhist stuff too. A really terse thing alluding to an underpinning philosophical point (in this case that there is ultimately no reality but the Brahman, i.e. there is no permanence in the fleeting, the Real has no cessation), followed by 'clever people just KNOW this, mannnnn' :lol:
It's 2.16 from the Gita specifically (in the start of Krishna's reply to Arjuna's lament)

Also it's funny you note about the philosophical point followed by "clever people just know this" because we were talking about how at the start of Krishna's reply, Krishna is kind of mocking Arjuna or being sarcastic sort of in his reply, saying something along the lines of "you mourn those which are not to be mourned and you speak words of wisdom" with the italicised portion being a literal translation but probably mocking or sarcastic (I think Maurer suggests instead of "and" to use "but", going along with his assertion that prapanann iva is meaning "almost laughing" or "a slight smile/shrug" so as to have Krishna not mocking Arjuna, whereas our lecturer seems to think actually Krishna probably is mocking him to some extent). Which sort of follows that format but subverts it perhaps (and given Arjuna had been speaking before trying to expound his sort of philosophical argument against killing the sons of Dh. in tristubh metre and so trying to sound knowledgeable).

(Original post by gjd800)
In terms of meaning, it's saying that the Godhead/Brahman/Absolute reality is permanent - our souls macrocosmic versions of this, the atman-Brahman, where atman is our permanent essence. The outside world is asat, meaning in these contexts not 'non-existent', but rather 'not permanent' or 'not eternal' or 'not Real'.

The idea is usually that we should look inward to our permanent essence, identical with the Godhead/Brahman/Absolute for liberation, and not seek it in fleeting things outside of us. I think this will be riffing around that foundational principle
That would make sense since the previous two sloka talked about material senses/contacts and the sensations from them, how they are fleeting and must be endured and so on. Although the sloka before those two were more about metaphysical things and our lecturer seems to think the two in the middle talking about material contacts and sensations is more likely an interpolation added in after the fact, if we take BhG 2.16 to be talking exclusively about more metaphysical/abstract conceptions of the eternal soul and so on.

Maybe I'll try and translate some of the commentaries over the winter break to see what they say
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